Elle: "Polyamory Made My Marriage Better — and It Might Make My Divorce Better, Too"
The women's magazine Elle posts a story today with a title that sounds snarky, but totally isn't:
Polyamory Made My Marriage Better — and It Might Make My Divorce Better, Too
What non-monogamy has taught me about "moving apart without blame."
By Arielle Greenberg
A few years ago, my husband, Rob, and I converted our traditional marriage to a polyamorous one. It's been remarkably smooth. We're very happy with our choice. And yet eventually we'll probably divorce. Does this mean that polyamory failed us? Not at all.
Like many of our generation, Rob and I are children of divorce, and so when we got married a dozen years ago, we designed a quasi-Buddhist ceremony that made room for the concept of anicca, or impermanence. We wrote our own vows and left out the "until death do we part" and "forsaking all others" stuff: Instead, we spoke about the inevitability of change and pledged to support one another as we continued to evolve.
The author and her husband
on their wedding day.
We meant it, but we had no idea what that might look like. We didn't anticipate that our evolution could involve the desire for sex and relationships with other people.
...After we finished having babies, we looked around and realized that although many things about our marriage were stellar — close friendship, mutual support and admiration, compatible co-parenting — we weren't ideal for one another sexually. We never really had been. Our libidos don't match; I'm more "sex motivated" of the two of us. Our relationship had thrived despite a lack of romantic chemistry.
This is not an unusual revelation, of course, and in most marriages, it results in screaming matches, or swallowed resentment, or affairs conducted amidst lies and betrayals. But Rob and I didn't see our "problem" that way — we didn't even really see it as a problem. We saw it as a reality, and an opportunity for positive change. We became poly....
For the last few years, most days at my house look like this: my partner Mike, who lives with us, helps me with dinner while Rob tends to the kids. We all eat together, and then Mike and I put the kids to bed while Rob texts a woman he's met on OKCupid. Once the kids are down, the three of us sit on the couch for a movie and a cup of tea. Sometimes Rob stays home with the kids while Mike and I go out dancing. Sometimes Mike and I stay home while Rob travels for work or goes on a date. Sometimes Mike and I take the kids camping and Rob spends the weekend combing bookstores. Sometimes Mike and Rob watch football together while I volunteer. Sometimes we all take a family vacation together.
It helps that both these men are tidy Cancers who share a love for progressive politics and sports blogs; they are also guys who have always enjoyed living with male friends.
Our arrangement wouldn't work for everyone....
Read on (March 25, 2016). "Arielle Greenberg is a poet and writer who lives in Maine; her book of personal micro-essays about style, shopping, and feminism, Locally Made Panties, comes out this spring."
Update: The mainstream women's magazine Marie Claire has posted the article on its site (March 28).